In a work-place culture dominated by stress, anxiety, and the need for high-performance, more and more researchers have taken it upon themselves to study Work-Family Conflict (WFC). WFC occurs when the responsibilities of one’s job or career starts to interfere with the quality of other aspects of their lives, in this case, their family life. Many businesses are interested in implementing stress coping strategies to help their employees deal with the demands of their jobs. Although there is past research outlying effective stress-coping strategies for WFC, these strategies may be too cookie-cutter to apply to every type of employee. The main goal of the research Examining the Relationships Between Personality, Coping strategies and Work-Family Conflict by Boris Baltes, Ludmila Zhdanova, and Malissa Clark, was to fill in the gaps of current literature which does not explore how personality traits can affect stress coping strategies.
If personality affects the way we approach our jobs and the way we interact with colleagues, it’s only fair to assume that our personalities would affect the way we handle work-induced stress as well. Previous research by Lee-Baggley et al. and Parkes demonstrate that high levels of neuroticism affect the method of problem solving for familial issues and well as the level of coping for moderate amounts of stress. Higher levels of Negative Affect (NA) leads to more emotion-focused coping, while lower levels of NA leads to less problem-focused coping. In addition, individuals with lower levels of NA solve problems in a more goal-oriented manner.
This goal-oriented way of problem solving is known as the selection, optimization, and compensation (SOC) model. The SOC model has been suggested to lower levels of WFC in research done by Baltes and Heydens-Gahir and Young et al. The main parts of the SOC model include increasing one’s resources for development, maintaining function in the face of challenges, and regulating loss of resources. This study took into account all of the discussed variables that could affect one’s response to WFC.
Baltes, Zhdanova, and Clark hypothesized that individuals with higher NA would practice lower SOC behaviors both and home and at work while people with higher levels of internal locus of control, higher levels of agreeableness, higher levels of conscientiousness, and more emotional stability would perform more SOC behaviors at home and at work. It was also hypothesized that individuals who use SOC strategies report lower work interference with family (WIF) and lower family interference with work (FIW), therefore, using SOC strategies was hypothesized to mediate the effects of NA, locus of control, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability on both WIF and FIW.
Ultimately, the data showed that while our personality can influence whether we used SOC strategies or not, there is no definitive aspect of our personality which affects how we react and perceive WFC. The NA trait can affect the way people perceive WFC, causing them to feel more stressed than their counterparts and less likely to seek help. Comparatively, conscientious individuals are more likely to utilize SOC methods to actively deal with WFC while agreeable individuals are usually more social and able to ask for guidance or help from their friends and co-workers. In addition, one’s level of emotional stability can either amplify or reduce the perceived stress and danger associated with WFC – particularly with WIF.
This data reveals that personality can be a factor into coping with WFC and that stress-management can be tailored to one’s personality and situation. Further research could analyze certain situations that would be stress-inducing or high-risk for workers. Also, businesses could use this research to focus on
helping their employees with high NA and low levels of emotional stability achieve success in the workplace and at home.